State of the Nation

*Any statements in this issue of the Watch which are not sourced are mine and identified by “WW”.

37% of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction. This includes 44% of men and 30% of women. 51% say it is on the wrong track including 45% of men and 56% of women. [Economist/YouGov 6/18/19]

In May 36% of us were satisfied with the way things were going in the United States while 63% were dissatisfied. [Gallup 5/12/19]

In a number of industries, when the largest four firms are combined they control most of the U.S. market share.

Search Engines
Google 63.2%
Microsoft 23.7%
Oath 11.9%
Ask 1.2%
Wireless Carriers
Verizon 35.5%
AT&T 33.4%
T-Mobile 17.1%
Sprint 12.6%
Other 1.4%
Fed Ex 43.0%
UPS 33.0%
DHL 20.0%
TNT 1.0%
Other 3.0%
Smart Phones
Apple 45.3%
Samsung 29.6%
Motorola 4.0%
HTC 1.4%
Other 90.3%
Social Media
Facebook 42.1%
YouTube 25.2%
Twitter 5.3%
Reddit 5.1%
Other 22.3%
American 18.3%
Southwest 18.2%
Delta 16.8%
United 14.9%
Other 31.8%
Pay TV
Comcast 25.0%
DirecTV 24.0%
Charter 19.4%
Dish 15.5%
Other 16.1%
[WSJ 6/8-9/19]

For the first time in more than 100 years, the legislatures of every state but Minnesota are dominated by a single party. [NYT/FiveThirtyEight 6/12/19]

3.8 billion people were internet users in 2018, a full 51% of the world, up from 3.6 billion in 2017. More established American users spent 6.3 hours per day consuming digital media in 2018, up 7% from the previous year. [Rani Molla, Recode]

127 million people live in the 775 cities in America that have a population of more than 50,000. That represents nearly 40% of the total population of the country.

The national vote has been trending away from rural areas to urban and suburban areas. The relative percentage of the vote:

  2004 2016
Rural areas 25% 17%
Suburban areas 46% 49%
Urban areas 30% 34%
[The Point/Chris Cillizza 5/23/19]

In Rural America 26% of residents needed health care in the past few years and did not get it. Of those folks 45% could not afford it, for 23% the health care was too far away or difficult to get to, 19% could not find a doctor who would take their health insurance and 22% could not get an appointment during the hours needed.

49% of rural Americans could not handle an unexpected expense of $1,000 based on their current financial situation. [NPR 5/21/19]

62% of Americans say they’ve become more supportive toward transgender rights as compared to their view five years ago. 25% said their views have grown more opposed in that time period. 25% say they had a close friend or family member who is trans while 68% of respondents report having a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian.

Two-thirds of Americans oppose the ban on transgender people in the military. Over the last two years the number of Republicans who oppose the ban has grown from 37% to 47%. [PRRInstitute/Numlock News 6/12/19]

Transgender people face a variety of hurdles. One of those hurdles has to do with credit cards that do not seem to match their current identity. Mastercard is leading an important change. Holders of its cards will soon be able to swap out credit, debit or prepaid cards with their old names for new ones featuring names they actually use. [WP 6/19/19]

An estimated $427.71 billion was donated to U.S. charities in 2018.
However, donations dropped an inflation-adjusted 1.7% from 2017. This is the first drop in giving in the country since the Great Recession.

Corporate donations increased by 2.9%. Foundation gifts jumped by 4.7%. However, individual giving to foundations dropped by 3.4%. [WP 6/19/19]

64% of Republicans say the federal tax system is very/moderately fair as compared to 32% of Democrats who share that view. Among those making $75,000 or more, 68% of Republicans and 21% of Democrats say the system is very/moderately fair.

The following are some frustrations expressed by Americans.

  • 62% feel that some corporations don’t pay their fair share in taxes
  • 60% feel that some wealthy people don’t pay their fair share in taxes
  • 39% feel the tax system is too complex
  • 27% are bothered by the amount they pay in taxes

81% of Democrats say the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests. Only 17% of Republicans share that view. [PEW 4/4/19]

While at least nine states have recently passed legislation strictly limiting abortions, Americans are increasingly of the view that abortions should either always be legal or legal most of the time.

  2003 2007 2013 June 2019
Always legal/legal most of the time 44% 40% 45% 56%
Illegal with exceptions/without exceptions 54% 53% 52% 41%
[NBC/WSJ 6/11/19]